According to a recent study of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers 70 years or older, who make up about 10% of the population, are less likely to be involved in auto accidents and less likely to be seriously injured or killed. It is anticipated that by 2050, the number of people in this age group will rise to 16 % of the population in the United States (over fifty percent higher than the most recent amount).
Some have opined this is because automobiles are safer than earlier makes and models. While there are increased numbers of baby boomers who are now seniors and, therefore, an increased number of this group driving on the streets and highways, they actually account for much lower rates of accidents and fatalities. Interestingly, the study revealed the greatest decline was in the group of drivers 80 years and older; this group had nearly a 50% larger decline than either middle age drivers or those between the age of 70 and 74.
Also and somewhat unexpected are statistics revealing those of retirement age are driving more than they did in the past, whether commuting to work (even if part time), shopping, vacation or visiting family and friends. In the age group of 75 years and older, their annual average miles driven increased 50%. Some commentaries believe this portion of the population take better care of themselves, live a much more healthy life and are leading more productive lifestyles than the same age group 15 years ago.
Clearly, senior drivers are more comfortable driving than their predecessors, and they take extra precautions such as driving less during the rush hours during the day, in inclement weather &/or at night. Nonetheless, eye examinations are a must, and there are classes available that test reaction times (perhaps helpful for many drivers). The next time we see an older driver we should be reminded of and think about emulating their wisdom and good habits, and not focus on any negativity that might otherwise come to mind.
Commentary by Sam Spital, San Diego Personal Injury Attorney:
“A patrol car driven by a San Diego Police Department officer at approximately 2:30 a.m. was struck by a pick-up truck whose driver admitted he was driving under the influence (DUI). The UT News on December 30, 2012 reported the police officer was badly hurt with broken bones and internal injuries requiring surgery. The crash occurred a little over an hour after another collision in which it is believed the driver was also under the influence and killed another individual in a head on accident.
It strains credulity to believe anyone would risk the life of another and/or themself by driving after drinking an alcoholic beverage, albeit the male driver of the pick-up truck in the above collision reportedly had no injuries. Unfortunately, at this time of the year in celebrating the New Year holiday far too many individuals stay out late at night and may not realize they are fatigued and possibly drowsy, they drink at a party or gathering but fail to use a designated driver or take a taxi cab when they are ready to go home.
It seems likely in the not too distant future there will be ignition interlock devices (IID) in not only those automobiles in which the driver has been convicted and the Judge has ordered the installation of the device http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl31.htm, but in all vehicles to prevent the huge number of fatalities and serious injuries caused by DUI drivers. Remembering back several years ago, there were objections to seat belts being placed in automobiles and laws that soon were enacted that required they be used or it was deemed a violation of law. This historical perspective may be used to justify the IID since it too can prevent DUI related auto accidents.”
COMMENTARY BY SAN DIEGO PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY SAM SPITAL:
“On December 16, 2012, the UT San Diego online edition printed an article regarding a 53 year old woman who died as a result of her crash into the flatbed of a semi-truck as she changed lanes on Highway 8, and then ran off the road and crashed into a tree.
The family and/or one of the heirs may seek advice from a personal injury lawyer to evaluate whether to bring a wrongful death case. Even though one is primarily responsible for operating his/her vehicle in the proper way to avoid accidents, the potential defendants and theories of liability in such a lawsuit would be for any dangerous condition as a result of the design and maintenance of roads and highways by the city, county and state government respectively. In addition, the overall safety, as well as design and manufacturing defects of the vehicle the woman was driving can be the principal or actual cause or a contributing cause of her death. As reported by the Centers of Disease Control and Preventing, accidents sadly remain the fifth leading cause of deaths in the United States, coming after heart disease (#1), cancer (#2), chronic lower respiratory diseases (#3) and strokes (#4). See http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm and the CDC website in general for a wealth of information related to public health issues and problems.”
In California, fewer teens are driving and seniors are hanging onto their driver’s licenses.
The number of drivers age 85 and older has jumped by 75 percent over the last decade, because people are living longer, healthier lives. Studies have also shown that drivers over 85 are most likely to be at fault in a car accident, and more likely to be injured. Teens are more likely to to be involved in crashed with injuries, and twice as likely to get traffic tickets, studies show.
One big factor in the decline of teen drivers is the difficulty of getting a license, and the restrictions placed on teen drivers. Now many people are opting to get their licenses at age 19 or 20 instead of at 16.
These restrictions will hopefully help keep the roads safer and cut down on reckless driving.
A person was sent to the hospital on Sunday after being struck by an MTS trolley.
The person, whose gender and name haven’t been released, had to be extricated from underneath the trolley by firefighters. The person was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital with what were described as major injuries.
Our hearts go out to the victim and the victim’s family in this difficult time.